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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

xni                            HISTORY OF THE WOLF                           421
Dartmoor and in the Forest of Dean. In. the New Forest they
were hunted in the twelfth century. It would seem that the
last English Wolf was slain some time during the reign of Henry
VII. In Scotland, however, they persisted very much longer.
So recently as 1 743 was the last killed. But before this period
they had begun to get exceedingly scarce, for the price of a skin
in 1620 is quoted at  6 : 13 : 4. In Ireland Wolves lingered yet
longer; about 1770 is believed to be the date of their final
extinction in that island. The "Wolf nowadays is distributed
over the greater part of Europe, Northern Asia, and ISTorth
America, the American form not being considered to be distinct
from its European ally. Much legend has collected round this
fierce Carnivore. Aristotle, usually accurate in the main, still
" states more of wolves than experience warranted." Pliny,
unable to sift truth from falsehood, was in this matter " an eager
listener to all old -women's tales." Aelian added to his marvels
and asserted that the Wolf cannot bend its head back; if it
should happen to tread on the flower of the squill it at once
becomes torpid. So the wily fox, fearing his more powerful
enemy, takes care to strew his path with squills ! The conversion
of men into Wolves was a well-known superstition, dating from
Grecian and Honiara times; it formed the basis of much of the
witchcraft persecutions of the Middle Ages and onwards, and has
left its mark in folklore, e.g. the Wolf in " Red Hiding Hood/*
The Indian Wolves, G. pallipes> O. cfaanco, and O. laniger, are
hardly, if at all, different from O. lupus. Professor Huxley has
remarked upon the likeness of O. pallipes to a Jackal, thus bridging
over the very inconsiderable gap that may be held to divide
Jackals and Wolves.
The Dingo, Oanis dingo^ is an interesting and somewhat
mysterious species of Bog or Wolf. As is well known, it is an
Australian species; but it does not seem to be certain whether it
was tamed and brought over to Australia by the native races, or
is a true and indigenous Australian species.
The colour of this species varies, but is usually of a reddish
brown; it is, however, often grey and indeed almost black.
Whether indigenous or introduced, the Dingo is a plague to
Australian settlers, devouring Sheep, which it generally destroys
by tearing out the paunch. It does not as a rule hunt in packs.
The Dingo is stated to feign death with so much persistence that